I just had my last lab meeting, so that’s it. My two years of master’s work have come to an end, and it’s time for me to move on to my next chapter. Amidst the goodbyes with my lab mates and friends, my supervisor asked if this experience was everything I had hoped it would be.
This question made me pause for a minute to really reflect on my time at McGill. I remember graduating from undergrad, having no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Since those days, I have grown personally, professionally, and academically in so many ways, and to a degree (pardon the pun) I never would have expected.
I came to Montreal naïve, not knowing anybody, and had no idea what to expect once I got to my lab. I knew my research would be interesting, but that was about it. Through this experience, I developed not only my writing, technical, and data analysis skills, but also improved my resilience, determination, creativity, and critical thinking skills. Through my lab experience and work experience, I now have a skillset that equips me for work in a multitude of settings, including academia, industry, or anywhere in between. I certainly still have more room for skill development, but I can use this as a jumping-off point to keep growing, keep learning, and keep improving.
Not only did my master’s help me with my employability, but it also provided life experiences. I made some of my best friends here – some in my lab, some in my department, and some who are doing other things in the city. I was able to enjoy all that Montreal had to offer, from great cafés, to beautiful running areas, to the constantly-changing festivals happening all around the city. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Montreal is the perfect place to do graduate studies, and I’m so happy I had these friends by my side to enjoy the ride with me.
The feeling of earning a graduate degree is like nothing else. The entire experience is full of ups and downs, good timing, missed deadlines, changed topics, new ideas, and everything else – but at the end of the day, you know that you worked hard and earned your degree. Looking back, grad school started out as me choosing my program because I didn’t know what else to do, and ultimately became one of the most enriching experiences of my life.
To everyone graduating with me at the spring ceremony – congratulations! Good luck in your future endeavours, and I’m confident you’ll go on to do great things.
To everyone still working away into the summer and the years to come – keep going! The light at the end of the tunnel only gets closer with every passing day, and always remember that even in the harder times, you’re constantly learning, growing, improving, and flourishing. You can do it!
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